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Boeing accused of manufacturing ‘unreasonably dangerous’ Osprey in lawsuit

Complaint alleges 2022 crash a result of aircraft being defective
US Military to resume V-22 Osprey operations after safety grounding
Posted at 3:55 PM, May 23, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The families of four Marines killed in an Osprey mishap near El Centro in 2022 are suing the manufacturers of the controversial aircraft, alleging undisclosed flaws and defects were responsible for their loved ones' deaths.

“All these families are unified with one goal, and that is to make the V-22 (Osprey) safer. That is so that future families and other Marines don't have to go through what they've gone through,” said attorney Ari Friedman in an interview from Los Angeles Thursday.

Capt. John Sax, Capt. Nick Losapio, Cpl. Nathan Carlson, Cpl. Seth Ramuson and Lance Cpl. Evan Strickland died in the Imperial Valley when the Osprey they were in went down during a training exercise on June 8, 2022.

Investigators later blamed the crash on mechanical failure and said a dual hard clutch engagement caused the mishap.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off like a helicopter and flies fast like a plane. It comprises several parts manufactured by Boeing, Bell Textron, and Rolls-Royce. All three companies are named defendants in the lawsuit, filed in federal court Thursday.

A Team 10 analysis in February found that since 1992, 61 Americans had died in Osprey mishaps.

Friedman, a partner with the Wisner Baum law firm, said the lawsuit's goal is to find the root cause of the mishaps.

RELATED: TEAM 10 INVESTIGATES: The troubled past of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

“We have some idea where on the plane these errors, these mistakes happen, but we don't know the cause, and we want to be able to do what we can to bring our investigation and insight to the situation to help the affected families, but also service members in the future and their families who might find themselves on the Osprey.”

Since the 2022 crash, six more hard clutch engagement incidents have occurred. A fatal crash in Japan last year that killed eight service members led the Pentagon to ground the Osprey.

In March, the military lifted the grounding and allowed the helicopter airplane hybrid back into the air.

A Pentagon defense official previously told Team 10 that safety improvements were being made, and the military believed it had found the cause of the hard clutch engagement problem.

The lawsuit alleges that the entire aircraft the Marines were on in 2022 was "defective" and “unreasonably dangerous” because it was designed with a flaw that allowed the hard clutch engagement to happen.

“Defendants supplied false information about the true nature of the problem, the grossly unsafe condition that existed in V-22 Osprey aircraft and the true risk that would cause grave and/or catastrophic harm including loss of life,” the lawsuit alleges.

Team 10 asked Boeing, Bell Textron and Rolls-Royce to respond to the lawsuit.

A spokesman for Bell said the company cannot comment on litigation. The other companies didn’t respond to requests for comment by the press deadline.